New York’s sidewalks buzz with an intoxicating energy. Art, skyscrapers penetrating the heavens, dazzling fashion statements, flashing lights and crowds, so many people indulging in infectious stimulation. It’s grand, until one becomes a shipwrecked castaway on the steel and glass island, where coconuts ain’t free.
Call it the follow up to “Gilligan’s Island” (the classic 1960’s American sitcom).Twas my last month in New York, and it became an endless waiting period. From riding subway to hailing cab, everything just bored me. My sanctuary was a beloved cocoon, my Harlem apartment.
However, my once colorful apartment lay empty. Posters, records, books, and knick knacks had been shipped to my new home in Riverside, CA. My air conditioning unit provided much needed company in the wake of bare walls and isolation.
Being stuck on the isle of Manhattan, I still had to tolerate daily life. Harlem still felt like home. Brownstones and coffee shops, it was the New York dream. While taking a daily stroll from tenement apartment to the coffee shop, I passed the perfectly appointed brownstones. They line Harlem’s sidestreets, and are needed relief from Midtown’s spiraling steel canyons.
Reaching Lenox Avenue, after an endless block, I realized this is the end. No more brownstones, baristas who know my name and waiters, who become like family. Heading downtown on Lenox, shops and cafés woke from drunken slumber.
Eyes widening, deep in thought, “shit, I’m leaving a full time job in New York, to venture into the great unknown, into a career, which I know nothing about it. With just a bit in savings (thanks, high rent) and grad school rejection letters, what would happen to my old adventurous soul?” For a moment, emotion about leaving my comfort zone actually had significance.
The Midtown skyline laughed back at me from a far distance. “You’re a yutz. You’re a yutz,” it screamed in a classic Brooklynese accent. The giant white building block jotted from the sky. It would house the ultra rich. It was the skyline’s middle finger, appropriate enough.
Though, the skyline dazzled most, I just shrugged my shoulders. “Fuck this shit, I’m going to California. I do not care if I end up a Target cashier or distinguished English professor, it will be a exciting life adventure and a return to my own native land.
After drinking coffee and reading my book, I ended up back in my humble apartment. Climbing stairs, after stairs, after stairs, I finally reached my fifth-floor studio.
Struggling for air, I happily proclaimed, “ I truly made the right decision. I will not be shipwrecked on an island and will enjoy no longer living in a walk-up. Farewell, New York, your coconuts may not be free, but you were successful at making me one grumpy asshole. Don’t get me wrong, I truly appreciate it (no, sarcasm, intended).